Thursday, 30 June 2011

Coarse Corse

This is the one you fear. This is the attractively labeled holiday buy lurking at the back of the drinks cabinet. OK, it's not a wine, so it shouldn't even be on this blog. But it's alcoholic and as redolent of terroir as any Claret or Burgundy.

Look at that beautiful label with the lovely calligraphy and that exotic head of the black Corsican. Enjoy the powder pink colour and the inky blue. But note the main ingredients.

'Sucre'. Sugar. Lots of it. This is sweet, but not in the good way that a Sauternes might be.

Corsica is one of my favourite places. Wild. Hills. Family seaside or strange beaches. Odd megalithic circles and a menacing flavour of mafia, pied noir and rich, herby meats and cheeses. Some rather good wine, too. Especially from the northern peninsula.

One of most enjoyable voyages was on the night ferry. We were one of a tiny handful of non-French people in a bateau en voyage to this island that is a mixture of Italian, French and something odd of itself. A bit like this dreadful drink.

And yet. That other ingredient. Myrte. And then you are reminded of the maquis, the dry, haunting smell of the scrub that bakes in the sea-salt sprayed coastal fringes. Plus the bitter fruits of this strange isle.
So what? it's still a rubbish drink. There must be something to have it with, apart from desperation, that makes it palatable, but I don't know what.

Still, it reminds me of Corsica and that's enough.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Pull Over

You are on the E21 about 100+ KM heading north of Lyons when on the left appears the ridge with signposts to some of the best wine villages of Burgundy. You have a car full of kids and unwashed holiday clothes. What you really need is a cool (but not chilled) glass of white.

I have always thought it paradoxical that one of the most reviled and misused grapes - Chardonnay - can reach such heights on those stony slopes just off the motorway.

This is not a particularly outstanding example. It was just a tenner en primeur. But it does have that minerally, slightly acidic quality (imagine sucking a pebble with a slice of lemon - on the other hand don't) but with the oleaginous body of the Chardonnay grape. This one was was slightly oaked with a lovely fresh apple taste (Bramley not Pippin).

This year, I will pull over.